Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Blitzen and a box w/ a tail

Today I went to get my hair cut and back to one color.  I had noticed the roots were coming in more gray than brown now but I'm still not quite mentally ready to go natural.  Did get it cut shorter.  My hair's texture is fine so the less weight on it the 'fluffier' it will appear.  Figured if I didn't like it that short I could spend the winter w/ a ski cap on - as cold as it gets here no one would look askance if I did.  I didn't go as far as getting a buzz cut like one of the library volunteers sports.   The surface of my skull feels like it has a lot of hills/rills/and valleys.  A little covering of hair evens everything out.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Purple and Pink sunset

Got the last of the Christmas packages off today.  On the first package, I forgot the cardinal rule of putting something with the address on the inside of the package also.  Had already sealed the box.  I placed this first package on the sofa while I worked on the other packages.  I was going to kill two birds w/ one stone.  Sealed boxes are an anathema to the kittens.  I knew they'd work hard at trying to open this one which (1) would prove if the package could make it through the rigors of the postal system and (2) keep the kittens occupied while I got the rest of the packages ready.  I didn't make my goal of getting all of my Christmas cards out - am at 92%.  Assume this will be just like the end of many projects - that last 10% takes as long as the first 90% did. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunset at the Gorge

It was the church's cantata today. The whole church even sang traditional carols to start the service. Woo Hoo! OK, a little disappointing that the person leading the singing didn't know the songs. The stanzas are projected on the wall in front of the church but she was facing the congregation and a bit too often singing different words. Then the choir stood and sang their first song. It was punctuated in places by a snare drum. The drum was too close to a microphone because the staccato sounds were way too loud. Felt like I had PTSD waiting for the next dreaded strike. After that things settled down to just the choir singing - no sermon. I kinda missed the sermon. All in all, it was a very nice cantata. One I wouldn't mind sitting through again - minus the snare drum and w/ maybe a short pithy homily.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Ragnarok at night

Anita and I drove to the village's Christmas celebration.  One of our stops was the fire station for the craft show.  They had moved out the engine and other vehicles to make one large room for the vendors to set up.  I picked up some gifts (including black truffle cheese for me) and then waited near the door while Anita made her own way through the vendors.  She came out w/ parcels and I asked what she had picked up.  "Some gifts and a bag of cookies." she replied.  Anita had stopped at a table w/ baked goods (that I must have missed) and struck up a conversation w/ the vendor.  She said the lady had talked her ear off w/ all of the horrible mishaps that had occurred to her in the last month.  "What else could I do but buy something?" Anita said.  "The cookies looked the least objectionable."  A unusual way of phrasing it.   "What are you going to do w/ them?" I asked.  Anita smiled.  "Give them to Doug."

Friday, December 08, 2017

Cornfield in winter

I checked in w/ my neighbor Blake.  Never know w/ all of the extra deer seasons the DNR allows or w/ trapping season starting whether he was OK w/ Indy and I tramping through his swamps.  He said we could walk there again and if anything changed he'd let me know.  Within the hour we were in the swamps.  It isn't  that picturesque right now but it felt nice to go for a long walk through the trees.  When we got back, Indy settled in for a little snooze and I started working on Christmas cards.  It isn't true that when you retire you have time to do everything.  What happens is you do the stuff you want to do and everything else is left to be done 'tomorrow'.  Was afraid Christmas would actually be tomorrow and I still wouldn't have sent any cards out.  Made a goal to send a quarter of them out each day.   Got today's quarter accomplished and rewarded myself by bopping over to my neighbors Doug and Anita to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on gossip.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Other library display

 The library has two display cabinets.  The other one was bought last year to house the library's permanent collection but somehow that hasn't happened.  The two display cabinets were next to each other and often filled w/ objects in the same genre.  Now that the new librarian has separated the cabinets, leaving one at the back of the library and moving the other to the front, I thought the one in the back could be used for it's original purpose.  However, Diane the librarian thought for the village's Christmas celebration it would be nice to have both of them filled w/ holiday collections.  I didn't really have an idea of what to put in the back case but one of the other volunteers had a collection of all sorts of Christmas figurines.  Good idea - think the kids coming will love them!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Dunder watching Dinosaur Train on TV

 Back to the library again today.  The new librarian Diane invited all volunteers to lunch.  We sat around at the back tables.  First Diane had a mini-meeting about some recent changes.  She gave us gifts of cute book-themed t-shirts and served a wonderful lasagna, tossed salad, garlic bread, and 'fluff' for dessert.  I'm certainly hoping this becomes the new norm for the volunteer festivities.  While we were cleaning up one volunteer noted that all during the time we were eating no one came into the library.  I'm chalking that up to the blowing snow and temps well below freezing.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Library display

The new librarian thought it would be nice to take one of the display cabinets and move up by the front desk.  The one up front I put Christmas/Winter dishes in.  The village's official Christmas celebration is this weekend.  There will be a lot of people coming in and out that day and I wanted to be sure to have the display ready.  I walked in this morning to just put some finishing touches on it.  I saw that Diane, the librarian, had no volunteers today.  Told her I would man the front desk while she took some time for lunch/errands/etc.  She asked if I would mind updating the volunteer list (e.g. retyping it) and if the volunteers knew they should shut off the Christmas lights on the tree as part of the closing procedures.  I said I would retype closing procedures also.  She also said she'd like to know how many people come in each month.  Not a problem, I just had to pull up the attendance graph.  Between those tasks, watching the desk, and finishing the display cabinets I didn't get out of there until 3:30.  Not exactly how I expected to spend the afternoon but outside there was a bitter wind blowing snow around.  Wasn't planning on a long walk thru the swamps anyway.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Not precisely sure

I talked to the clinic about a bill they sent me for my last checkup.  "It's all covered under Medicare and my insurance." I said.  "Yes." They agreed.  "But the timing was we sent out your bill before we sent it out to Medicare."  This would mean they print and post useless invoices on a regular basis.  That makes no financial sense.  I created better computer systems than that twenty years ago!  Stopped by the library to put the finishing touches on the Christmas display case and found out there was a Friends of the Library Christmas party tonight - bring a small gift and something to eat.  Well, at least that took my mind off the current horrendous state of programming.  Went though my stash of little gifts, picked out something appropriate and put it in Christmas bag.  Schwan's stopped by this afternoon so I picked up tiny cheesecake appetizer's from him.  Party was actually fun.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

What's the theme?

 The November photo contest has been judged.  The rules are to submit five pics on the theme for the month.  This theme was just one word.  Can you guess from the pictures I submitted what it was?

Saturday, December 02, 2017

In the backwoods

It's chili season.  I got the crock-pot out this morning.  Browned some hamburger.  Cut up an onion and a part of a green pepper.  Opened cans of spicy tomatoes, chili beans, diced chilies.  Put it all in the crock-pot along w/ chili powder, cumin, and oregano.  It's my usual recipe - as much as I have a usual recipe.  Varies a bit depending on what I have around the house.  I gave it an hour to work and then, as all of the cooking shows admonish, I tasted it.  OK but had a bit of a bitter aftertaste.  Not being much of a cook I wasn't sure how to remedy that but logically it seemed putting something sweet in should help.  Went through the spice cabinet.  Coriander.  It has a sweet smell and I've seen it in chili recipes before.  Walked over to the candy jar and picked out a milk chocolate Lindt candy.  Why not?  Threw them both into the crock-pot and stirred everything together.  Six hours later I boiled spaghetti.  Ladled the chili over it.  Garnished w/ cheese and sour cream.  Perfect after a walk through the back woods.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Dunder got out again

I needed a pick-me-up today so thought it was time to start decorating for Christmas.  Turns out Christmas decorations are made up of lots of hanging balls, little tingling bells, and bright glittery materials: a kitten's trifecta.   The first thing I hung up was a stocking by the fireplace.   It's now missing two white yarn balls and I can hear the kitten's trying to work it's bells off.  May have to dial back on what I put around this Christmas.  Can you imagine what the little buggers will do w/ a tree?  If you wonder what I could use for Christmas: (1) Dental Floss.  I'd left the case out on the sink and it wasn't there last night. Located it today under the couch.  (2) Kleenex.  Walked into the house and found Dunder sitting atop a small table, happily snagging tissues, one by one, out of an open box.   (3) Toilet Tissue.  Blitzen got hold of a roll, wrapped her little arms around it, flopped onto her back, and shredded it into bits w/ her back claws.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Contrail remains at dawn

Time to get the Christmas display ready for the library.  It's Christmas table settings and I wanted to add some extras to each setting.  I washed various napkins and hung them out on the line.  Figured drying that way would make them just a little stiffer.  Carefully ironed them and then fired up the Internet.  Found instruction on how to fold a napkin into a crown shape (looked more like a fleur-de-lis to me) and tucked a little holly in it's pocket.  That will look nice for the formal china setting.  Got my origami skills going and folded a green napkin into a Christmas tree.  Great for the Northwoods-patterned stoneware.  I did a simple accordion fold w/ the blue napkin, stuffed it through a napkin ring, and fanned it out on either side.  That will go perfectly w/ the informal pattern on another setting. Turns out folding napkins into various shapes is actually pretty easy.  Might be something to consider w/ all of the holiday get-togethers coming up.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Basswood Grove at sunrise

When I went to the optometrist two months ago, he had problems getting my right eye to 20/20 vision.  He thought I might be having eye issues because of allergies so gave me the option of putting saline drops in for a week and coming back for a retest -or- being referred to an ophthalmologist to make sure there wasn't something else going on.  I immediately asked for the referral.  Both of my younger brothers had rips in their retinas this year plus I don't have any allergies.   My referral appointment was early this morning in College Town.  I sat down in the waiting room and looked around.  Lots of modern art on the walls.  Makes sense - most people coming in probably can't see very well anyway.  An assistant did the conventional eye tests and then put drops in my eyes.  When I saw the doc he said his family hailed from my neck-of-the-woods.  Turns out his uncle (great-uncle?) had tapped maple trees on the farm years ago.  The doc found nothing wrong w/ my eyes and put the correction problems to 'aging'.  I donned a pair of sun glasses for the drive home but was happy the new car does so many things automatically.  Checked out my eyes in the mirror when I got home.  Surprisingly I now had blue eyes.  My eye color is hazel like my father's: a blue ring on the outside, green on the inside, and spots and rays of golden brown intermixed.  My eyes were still so dilated only the outer blue ring was showing.   Hopefully they will be back to normal by library duty tonight so I don't look like I'm high on something.